Posts Tagged ‘Toby’

This customer wanted a little bit of flare without going overboard. I did a full Speedhut gauge setup with flip-flop color scheme. He needed to squeeze two other gauges somewhere so I closed off the small vents and lower switch areas on the cluster shroud. Then flushed in a 2-1/16″ Speedhut gauge on each side.

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This seems to be the most popular piece that I duplicate:

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Recently finished up a gauge panel for my good friend Damon Young. As most of you will know, he use to own the black S13 hatch that was on the cover of Modified Magazine along with mine. However, he has moved on from that and into an EVO VIII. He needed a killer place to install his (3) 52mm Defi gauges and I hooked him up with a nice solution. I typically like to make my custom interior pieces appear to be something the OEM manufacturer would have made… but weren’t cool enough to do so. When they see it, I want people who know nothing about cars to think it came from the manufacturer that way. I want it to look so integrated that it doesn’t look like I did much… even though I spent hours and hours modifying and fabricating it. Well, Damon’s gauge panel demonstrates this philosophy.

For this write-up, I also decided to strictly use my iPhone 5 to take the progress pics. It’s WAY easier than getting out my Canon 50D, setting it up, getting it dirty etc. It worked out great and I will continue to do this for all of my progress pics on future projects… except for my S13 project of course. It receives the full treatment at all times 🙂

Damon sent me his radio/HVAC trim piece to retrofit the gauges into. The radio is getting relocated which gave me a nice spot to mount the gauges. Here is the original piece that he sent me:

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The first thing I did was increase the size of the rectangular opening. The three gauges actually sit in the OEM opening fine, but they do not flush into the opening. When possible, I like to flush gauges into the panel I’m modifying. I think it gives an overall finished look and also keeps with the OEM theme. Sure it takes a lot longer to do it, but the results are always worth the hassle in my opinion. So I enlarged the opening on the top and bottom. Next I bonded in a piece of 1/4″ ABS with some Norton Speed Grip 5 minute. As usual, I roughed up all the edges to be bonded with some 80 grit or harsher sand paper prior to bonding. I made sure the ABS had a large enough footprint to squeeze the gauges in while not cutting into any of the surrounding OEM plastic. As you will notice, I had to work within the confinements of the recessed area in the OEM panel. It would have been easier to simply fill in the entire recessed area and then flush the gauges into that, but again, it will look MUCH more OEM if I keep the recessed area intact. Here is a shot of the ABS bonded into place:

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Next I sanded all the joints, ABS and the surrounding OEM plastic in the recessed area to give a nice smooth/seamless transition from the original plastic to the new plastic. This is going to receive a smooth finish for the final paint, so it needs to be perfect:

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Using a digital caliper, I carefully centered the gauges in the proper spots:

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I then used a hole saw to get the hole sized as close as possible. Since there isn’t a hole saw that is exactly the same diameter as the outside diameter of the Defi gauge, then I had to make it small and then enlarge it with a 50 grit sanding drum on an air grinder. I then sanded the hole by hand with 80 grit:

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Test fitting the gauges… I didn’t realize the following pic was blurry when I saved it, so sorry about that. It’s unacceptable to me, but it’s the only pic I have where I show them test fit straight on:

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Showing off the flushness… Zilvia would be proud. Well, except for the lack of stretched gauge bezels:

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I scuffed the entire trim piece down with a red 3M scuff pad. I then sprayed a heavy coat of Dupli-Color Cast Iron Engine Block enamel over the entire piece. I have found in the past that this paint color, Cast Iron, is a very close match to several OEM interior trim panels:

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After that dried I wet sand it with 500 grit. I then sprayed a heavy coat again and did the process a few times to get it perfect without any defects, dust etc:

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Damon is a very smart man and supplied me with brand new HVAC stickers to apply to the finished piece… and here it is with the gauges mounted in and stickers applied:

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Finally had a customer request molding something into the radio trim bezel of a S13. The customer wanted the four AEM 52mm gauges flush mounted in the double din area where the radio/pocket normally reside. However, the gauges will not really fit in that opening… especially flushing them in. So I enlarged the area and bonded a 3/4″ piece of MDF into the opening. I went ahead and marked/routed out the gauge locations prior to bonding. At this time I also cut the opening to flush in the Greddy turbo timer. Once the MDF plate was bonded/cured, I took a couple different sanders and sanded down the MDF plate to match the contour of the S13 trim panel. At first glance it simply looks flat across the entire thing… but it’s not. And since the bottom gauges extend down so far, it gets into to the curved area right before where the shifter opening is.

All bonded and shaped:

Next I used a thin coat of body filler to fill in any imperfections. Sanded that all down then hit the panel with several coats of high build primer. Once that fully cured I wet sanded it with 500 grit:

Several coats of SEM Landau black and we have a finished product. Note: I also coat the back with several coats to prevent the MDF from absorbing any moisture at all.

I decided to have this on a Saturday this year. Hopefully this will help anyone traveling a decent distance to not have to worry about getting back for work the next day. Or even allow them to get a hotel Saturday night.

When: Saturday October 6th

Time: 10am – whenever

Where: My house… 1101 Canyon Creek Rd. Normal, IL 61761

Why: To give back to the Nissan community. Please show up in a Nissan, Datsun or Infiniti. I’m not handing out free food to someone who rolls up in a Subaru.

Events

  • Cookout — Free food and drinks
  • Forza 4 — [COLOR=”Red”]FREE[/COLOR] Viper alarm system or Alpine radio for the best lap time and best 1/4 mile time(must use steering wheel)
  • Comedy — Make fun of Damon(Greg)… as usual
  • Cruise — Some local driving and fresh air
  • Discounts — 20% OFF attendance coupon good for every product I carry(limit one item). Custom work is exempt!

Please post in the comments section if you are coming so I can get a head count. Include number of guests if applicable. Also post up what kind of grill meat you prefer… brats, dogs or burgers.  NOTE: If you post in the comments that you are attending but then change your mind, please post again that you are not or edit your original comment.

It’s that time of year again! It will be held on Sunday October 16th this time around. Please post on Zilvia if you are coming. If you do not have an account, simply sign up for one just so you can post. Event info and sign-up can be found here:

Sign-up Here!!!

Cookout

I will be holding my second annual cookout for all you local and non-local Nissan lovers. I will be hosting it on Sunday September 12th starting @ 10am. We will grill and hang out for awhile, then do some nice cruising on our local streets and interstates… maybe an individual photo shoot or two if you can talk Kyle into it. I will supply all forms of food and drinks. Makes it easier for those traveling……. no need for coolers etc. All I ask is a simple donation for the cause into the tip jar. My local friends and I are accustom to mature outings, so lets not deter from that. Plenty of fun can be had without being stupid.

Please reply on this thread if you can make it and I will update the list periodically:

2010 Broadfield Nissan Cookout

State how many people you will have with you, if any. Also what kind of grill meat and beverage you and your guest(s) prefer.

All models of Nissan/Datsun welcome!